Book Review: Befriend: Create belonging in an age of judgment, isolation, and fear, by Scott Sauls
What might happen if we took seriously Christ’s command to “love one another”? What might happen if Christ followers sincerely tried to love the least and the lost? What are some practical ways that we can create real friendship with those on the fringes of society? These questions lie at the heart of pastor and author Scott Sauls’ latest offering, Befriend: Create belonging in an age of judgment, isolation.
Far too often, according to the author, we settle for “less real versions of friendship.” These might include digital friendships, transactional friendships, and one-dimensional friendships. Rather than settle for false versions of friendship, the author challenges us to pursue real friendship—“the multilayered kind that exposes us to the grit of our own and each other’s lives; the kinds that positions us to love across the lines of our differences; the kind that leads us to lay down our lives for each others’ sake.”
As the author explains, the book “is a collection of twenty essays. Each essay attempts to explore a unique picture of real friendship…. Real friendship happens when we move toward the people we are most tempted to avoid. These are the people who are best equipped to challenge our perspectives, push our buttons, and require us to put on love.” Included in his list of challenging people to love are “prodigals and Pharisees,” “the ones you can’t control,” “dysfunctional family members,” “the poor and empty-handed,” “bullies and perpetrators,” “vulnerable women and humans not yet born,” and several others.
The book is well written and will challenge your thinking. The book is biblical and practical. It includes many real life stories and examples. I found it especially timely in light of the current debate over athletes who stand/kneel during the national anthem.
My impression is that the book appears to be written to those who are already following Christ. The only negative I found in the book is that it lacks a gospel presentation. In the chapter, “Befriend the one in the mirror,” he deals with the subject of shame and says that Christ has “lifted our shame off of us, nailing it to the cross.” However, he doesn’t go further to explain how we can receive forgiveness for our shame and sin.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network http://tyndaleblognetwork.com/ book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.